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Robert Half Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Companies     Talent     Staffing Agencies    
Question 1 of 30
Would you take a job order from a client who was acting unethically?
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How to Answer
Responsible staffing agencies like Robert Half need to protect their reputation, which includes prescreening clients in various ways. A smart recruiter will look for a history of unexplained employee turnover, previous sexual harassment accusations, stories of discrimination, poor health and safety records, and consistently lousy employee reviews. When meeting with a client for the first time, and they brag about burning through multiple staffing agencies, this is a definite warning sign. Show the interviewer that you will never put the reputation of Robert Half on the line to land a job order.
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1.
Would you take a job order from a client who was acting unethically?
Responsible staffing agencies like Robert Half need to protect their reputation, which includes prescreening clients in various ways. A smart recruiter will look for a history of unexplained employee turnover, previous sexual harassment accusations, stories of discrimination, poor health and safety records, and consistently lousy employee reviews. When meeting with a client for the first time, and they brag about burning through multiple staffing agencies, this is a definite warning sign. Show the interviewer that you will never put the reputation of Robert Half on the line to land a job order.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"In the past, I have worked for agencies that will take work from anyone and everyone. I desire to join an agency like Robert Half with a reputation for legit clients and great job opportunities. From my research and the topics we have discussedtoday, it seems that our core values align nicely."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I have been trained to be selective on the clients I take on, and I would like to continue with this practice. I have an intake questionnaire that I go through with clients, so everyone goes through the same prescreening process. Then, I conduct an in-person meeting whenever possible so that I can physically see the environment in which my successful candidate would be working."
2.
Are you a patient individual? Rate your patience level from 1-10.
Being a recruiter or any professional in the staffing industry requires an immense level of patience. You make a lot of calls every day, wait for candidates to respond, and wait on contracts to be signed. Often, you will be in a significant rush to make a placement before a competing agency beats you to the punch. You will speak to hundreds of candidates every month, all with their personality quirks and potentially low levels of commitment and communication. The interviewer wants to know that, despite all of these challenges, you can remain confident, professional, and patient. Rate your level of patience from 1-10 and be prepared to give an example that backs your rating.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I rank my patience level an 8 out of 10. There will always be candidates, clients, and situations that test your patience, and I do have room to improve. Recently I had a candidate back out of their accepted job offer on the morning of their start date. Rather than lose my patience, I quickly found a temp for my client, and then continued to search for a new permanent candidate. Of course, I will not work with that candidate again, but that is simply professional boundaries. I would never disrespect someone, or myself, for a situation like that."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"For the past year, I have worked as a temp recruiter, primarily searching for laborers in the warehousing and logistics sector. As you know, the rate of candidates who no-show or do not perform well is very high in these categories. Rather than lose my patience, I keep focused on the needs of my clients. For this reason, I rank my patience level as a 9 out of 10."
3.
Are you willing to work outside of the regular 9-5?
In staffing, you may be asked to work outside of a typical Monday to Friday work week, depending on your clients and candidate needs. If you have a candidate who cannot interview during standard work hours, you may need to conduct a phone interview at 7 PM to accommodate their needs. If you do temp staffing, you may have warehouse clients who call you at 6 AM to report a worker who did not show up for their early-morning shift.

Many recruiters have their cell phones on 24/7 and check their email on weekends. Show Robert Half that you are willing to accommodate the varying needs of your clients and candidates.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"In the world of staffing, I do not expect to work a strict 40 hour per week schedule, but I also know that I'm looking for a work-life balance. As needed, I will be available to my clients and candidates. I have email on my phone and am sure to be on top of my candidates' start dates, promptly checking in with my clients even on weekends and evenings."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"In staffing, I anticipate working over 40 hours per week, especially around final deadlines. That said, that comes with some limits as I do value my work-life balance. Could you share with me the expectations for this role?"
4.
What type of clients come to Robert Half for our staffing services?
Robert Half helps a plethora of clients from small businesses to enterprise-level companies. Check out the company website to look for client reviews and any other indicator of whom their clients might be. The most important factor with this question is to show that you have done your research on Robert Half before attending your interview.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"There are many rave reviews on your website from companies big and small. I see that you have reviews from (A) and (B) which are very impressive. I have recruited for clients in similar industries and even direct competitors in the past. This experience will ensure that I catch on very quickly to your clients' varying needs."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I believe that clients of Robert Half consist of any sized business who need help finding rare skill sets or who need to volume hire for seasonal operations. Although I did not see any specific clients listed on your website, I suspect your biggest clients are within logistics and warehousing, administration, and sales. Is this accurate to say?"
5.
Tell me about the targets and goals in your current position. Do you have trouble meeting them?
Every staffing professional knows that there are targets and goals to meet within their agency. In temporary recruitment, these targets often relate to the speed at which you fill open job orders or the volume of work that you get from your clients.

In permanent staffing, goals can include the fees you have collected each quarter, or how many job orders you brought in through cold calling efforts.

Talk to the interviewer about the goals and targets in your current position. If you are not sure of the goals present in this role with Robert Half, it is certainly okay to ask.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"In my current position I have a heavy focus on new client acquisition and business development activities which includes performing at least 60 cold calls per week. I always meet my performance targets, which also include job order volume, first interviews conducted, and placement fees collected. This month already, I am 154% to my placement fee goals."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am measured on how quickly I fill my temporary job orders and the number of new job orders that my existing clients send me every month. My average is 20 job orders per month, with an expectation of just 15. I am a high performer, and I look forward to bringing this winning attitude to Robert Half."
6.
Have you ever worked with a staffing agency, from a job seekers' perspective?
If you have ever experienced staffing from the perspective of a job seeker, you can understand the recruitment process from a variety of perspectives. This experience allows you to be empathetic with job seekers who may be nervous working with a recruiter and their clients.

Talk to the interviewer about your experience working with a staffing agency. If you do not have this experience, that is okay too! What is most important is that you show Robert Half you have the empathy and patience needed to work with candidates who do not understand the goals of staffing.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"A few years ago I was headhunted into the role that I have now. This situation was my very first time being on the other side of the table and, honestly, it was a little bit intimidating! Even though I knew the staffing industry in and out, I was still unsure of next steps and felt a lot of pressure to impress multiple parties. I wanted to interview well with the company and not let down the recruiter who was working so hard to place me. This experience gave me a new perspective, and now I treat candidates with even more care and concern. I am clear on next steps, expectations, and give them every tool possible to help them succeed."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Although I have not worked with a staffing agency, as a job seeker, I completely understand how the situation could be confusing and intimidating. To combat those feelings, I work closely with my candidates and am always open for questions along the way. I help my candidates with articles, guides, and information to ensure their success through the entire recruitment process."
7.
When scanning a resume for the first time, what do you look for?
Stats show that a recruiter will give a resume between seven and eleven seconds of their attention before moving on to another resume. Experts in the staffing industry know how to scan and screen a resume for the most critical information, so they can easily shortlist or disqualify.

Working at Robert Half, chances are most of the resumes you will receive will first be screened by your applicant tracking system. Still, many more resumes will come through to your email. Show the interviewer that you know what to look for in a resume when you initially screen.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"When I am scanning a resume for the first time, I will first look to see if they meet my clients' educational requirements. Then, I look at their dates of employment to see if they are a job hopper. Next, I look at their job title and industries they have worked for, ensuring their career progression makes sense. I also want to know if they have worked for my client in the past. If they pass these initial checks, I will call them for a prescreen telephone interview."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Job hopping is the first thing that I look for in a resume. If the candidate has held more than five jobs in three years, I disqualify them. It's nearly impossible to ask a client for a hefty fee when there are no guarantees this candidate would stick by them. Next, I look for a match with industry, education, and ensure that job titles and movement make sense. Did someone go from sales rep to CEO in 6 months? I would need to know more since that would be an unusual career progression."
8.
Name for me some reasons why a job seeker would want to work as a temp.
Although it may seem strange to some people, there are many reasons why a job seeker would want to work as a temporary employee. Job seekers from the beginning of their career, into retirement age, can all enjoy the perks of temp work. Some of these benefits include:

- Flexibility. As a temp worker, you can agree to take or turn down work at your leisure. For retired folks who travel a lot, temp work is excellent for seasonal needs.
- Buying time. Temp workers can earn money as contractors until they find the right permanent opportunity.
- Comply with work restrictions. Temp opportunities are often a better fit for people waiting on permanent residency or citizenship who may have federal work restrictions.
- Fill resume gaps. Temp offers job seekers the opportunity to learn new skills in a variety of settings, expanding their resume.
- Fast-track to employers. Temps are often offered a permanent position after their assignment is complete if the hiring authorities are impressed with their performance.

Discuss with the interviewer why you believe some candidates would prefer to take on temporary assignments.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have met many people who highly prefer working temp, for a variety of reasons. The most common reason being wanting to build out their resume to include more skills, and avoid resume gaps while they search for the perfect permanent opportunity. I have also met many semi-retired folks who temp as food samplers on weekends to supplement their retirement income. Temp is an excellent solution for many people."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I have worked as a temp in the past. My reasoning was to earn money during the summer between university. I found this solution very beneficial as it rounded out my resume and helped me to network as well. Other people may like to temp if they want the flexibility, or if they have work restrictions due to personal circumstance."
9.
Do you understand how Robert Half makes a profit?
The interviewer wants to see that you understand the fee structure at Robert Half or at least staffing agencies in general. Depending on your region, this response could vary as there are different rules and regulations surrounding staffing and recruitment around the world.

For the most part, a staffing agency makes a profit in three ways:

1. Permanent placement fees
2. Temp fees
3. Retainer based searches

Permanent placement fees are usually a set percentage based on the ideal candidate's salary. Let's say that a staffing agency is asked to headhunt a chemical engineer. The staffing agency finds the perfect candidate, and that chemical engineer comes with an asking salary of $100K per year. The hiring company would pay (in addition to the $100K salary) a fee of 18-25% that number, as a permanent placement fee. So, a one-time $18-25K fee.

Temp fees are a surcharge in addition to a temporary employee or contractors' hourly wage. Assuming the same chemical engineer is working on a 12-month contract for an oil and gas company. The OG company does not want to add this engineer to their permanent payroll or pay the engineer's employment insurance and other government required fees. The staffing agency will take on the role of 'employer' and charge the additional costs plus a commission to the OG company. Let's say the chemical engineer is asking for $40/hour. The staffing agency will charge the OG company $55/hour, giving $40 to the contractor and taking $15 as an administration fee and commission.

A retainer is a fee that is paid in advance to secure the services of a staffing agency. Primarily retainers are only requested by high-end executive search firms who conduct long, complicated searches for talents such as surgeons, lawyers, professors, and CFOs. In this instance, the hiring company would pay a large sum upfront to the agency, and then the remainder of their fee once the ideal candidate accepts a job offer.

Chances are, Robert Half will be paid by perm or temp placement fees only. Speak to the interviewer briefly about fee structures, showing that you come from a place of full understanding.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I fully understand how recruitment and staffing agencies make a profit. My educated guess is that you earn a profit through permanent placement fees and temp fees. Could you share with me what your fee percentage is? My current agency charges 20-22% depending on the difficulty of the position and the location of our search."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"From my research, I understand that Robert Half makes a profit from placement fees. I am familiar with three fee styles; the permanent search fee, which is a flat rate. The other is a temp fee, added onto a contractors' hourly wage. The other is a retainer where the client pays a large percentage upfront, similar to hiring an attorney. Which fee structure is used most at Robert Half?"
10.
What is a staffing agency?
This question may seem as fundamental as they get, but the interviewer needs to know that you understand how staffing works. Staffing is a misunderstood industry. It will be part of your role to add clarification for clients and candidates who may not fully comprehend what it is that you do. Briefly describe to the hiring authority what a staffing agency is, including who they help, and their primary purpose.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I come across many candidates who do not understand what a staffing agency is. I explain to them that a staffing agency works on behalf of other companies to help them find the best talent for their open jobs. I explain that most of my clients do not have the time to filter through thousands of job applications per year, or hire in a timely fashion, so they ask for outside help."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"A staffing agency is like an extension of a company's human resources department. When a company is too busy to keep up with their recruitment needs, a staffing agency will come in to help them source candidates, pre-screen for job skills, and conduct first interviews."
11.
How does a staffing agency charge a job seeker for their services?
This one may be a trick question! Legitimate staffing agencies never charge job seekers for placement services. That's right; every placement fee paid to a staffing agency is from the hiring company.

In many countries, such as Canada, it is illegal for a recruitment or staffing agency to charge candidates for job placements. These regulations do not include fees for resume writing or career coaching, for instance. The bottom line is, a job seeker never pays money to be considered for an open position with a staffing agency or their clients.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"All placement fees are paid for by the client, rather than the candidate. In my current agency, we charge the client between 18-25% of the candidates' first years' salary. This fee structure means that if the candidates agreed upon salary is $100K, then our fee would be $18-25K; never paid for by the candidate. I understand that different regions have various fee structures. However, I believe that a client should always pay the agency placement fee. No financial burden should fall on the job seeker."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Placement fees are paid to a staffing agency when they successfully place a job seeker in a new role with their client. Fee percentages vary; however, an agency should always invoice the hiring company. A candidate may pay for assistance such as resume writing or career coaching; however, they do not pay the employment placement fee."
12.
What is the difference between temporary, temporary-to-permanent, and permanent placement?
Temp, temp-to-perm, and perm are recruitment and staffing terms that you will hear every day while working for Robert Half.

Working temp means that a contractor is on a temporary contract with the staffing agency, to work for their client, for a specific amount of time. Temp employees are paid directly from the staffing agency, and the agency then bills the client.

Temp-to-perm is a contract that begins temporarily with an opportunity for the contractor to be hired on full time once their work performance is proven.

Perm or permanent placement is when candidates undergo a traditional screening and hiring process with the agency and their client. In the end, the hiring company makes a permanent job offer to the candidate.

Take a few moments to share your knowledge with the interviewer.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I get this question from candidates a lot, and it's best to keep the answer straightforward. Temp work is contract work that can last anywhere from a couple of days to a year or more, depending on the company's hiring needs. The contractor knows the assignment can end at any time, without notice. Temporary-to-permanent occurs when that contractor is asked to stay on as a dedicated employee after the original contract period is up. Permanent placements are traditional offer-to-hire gigs where an agency's client will hire the candidate as a dedicated payrolled employee."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"The most significant difference between temp, temp-to-perm, and perm are the expectations set from the beginning. Temp employees are paid by the staffing agency to fulfill a specific client need for an agreed-upon length of time. Temp-to-perm contractors may have the opportunity to be hired on full time once the contract is complete, and their performance is proven. Perm refers to traditional employment where a company offers to hire the job seeker immediately."
13.
What advice would you give to a recent grad with no work experience?
Robert Half is all about empowering their candidates, which includes giving sound career and job-search advice to the candidates with whom they work. Talk to the hiring authority about the help that you would give to a recent graduate, with no work experience, who needed to round out their resume. Your advice could be to volunteer more, add in some temporary work, take additional coursework, and more.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I am a strong believer in the power of volunteer work. Statistics show that 3 out of 4 hiring managers prefer to hire candidates with recent volunteer experience. For that reason, I advise new grads that their volunteer work should be on their resume, and it can trump work experience if highlighted to an employer correctly."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"The best piece of advice that I could give a recent grad is to continually educate themselves in the form of online coursework, reading the right books, and taking advantage of personal development opportunities. I would also recommend they network and get out in their community. Many jobs come through networking, so it's important to get your name out there."
14.
How often do you check in with your candidates after placed in a permanent role with your client?
Many staffing agencies will have a schedule of events when it comes to checking in with candidates after placing them with a client. These check-ins are vital as they are meant to ensure that your candidate is happy with their new placement and that they are meeting performance expectations.

Most staffing agencies offer a free replacement to their client, should a candidate not work out for the best within 90 days of their employment start. For this reason, it's best practice to have regular check-ins for the first 90 days, and into the persons' first year. Show the interviewer that you understand the importance of this practice and that you are a diligent staffing professional.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have a schedule for checking in on every single one of my permanent placements. I check in on their first day and at the end of their first week. After their first week, I have a weekly check-in for the first 30 days. From then, every other week until they reach their 90 day probation period. From 90 days to year one, I schedule a monthly email. All of my candidates appreciate my diligence in ensuring they are happy with their placement. This action allows me to react to any potential situations before they become a major issue."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I believe it's best to check in on the morning of their first day, and twice more during the candidate's first week. For the first 90 days, I will email or call once per week. Then, I check in monthly. These conversations are usually short. I ask questions related to expectations versus reality, their overall comfort level, and happiness with their new work environment."
15.
How does artificial intelligence impact talent sourcing?
Artificial intelligence (AI) made it's splash on the staffing scene many years ago, with the introduction of ATS or applicant tracking systems. Today, AI is becoming smarter and more robust, making it easier to source and screen the best candidates. Talk to the interviewer about the ways you have seen AI change talent sourcing strategy.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"The most dramatic change I have seen in the talent sourcing and staffing industry has been the marriage of AI and affordable SaaS. Job postings and other tasks, automated by solutions such as Zip Recruiter, do a lot of initial sourcing and screening for HR professionals. This ease of use and its affordability means companies who once relied on a staffing agency are utilizing this technology for themselves. To overcome this, staffing agencies must offer the best and fastest service, proving more than ever before that their fees are worth paying."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Applicant Tracking Systems are getting smarter every year, and once I learned how to utilize an ATS to my benefit, my recruitment process sped up exponentially. Now, I can deliver talented candidates to my clients' inbox in just a day or two, fully screened, and ready for their first interview. I also believe that tools such as LinkedIn Recruiter, which rely heavily on AI for search results, have greatly benefitted the staffing industry."
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30 Robert Half Interview Questions
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Interview Questions
  1. Would you take a job order from a client who was acting unethically?
  2. Are you a patient individual? Rate your patience level from 1-10.
  3. Are you willing to work outside of the regular 9-5?
  4. What type of clients come to Robert Half for our staffing services?
  5. Tell me about the targets and goals in your current position. Do you have trouble meeting them?
  6. Have you ever worked with a staffing agency, from a job seekers' perspective?
  7. When scanning a resume for the first time, what do you look for?
  8. Name for me some reasons why a job seeker would want to work as a temp.
  9. Do you understand how Robert Half makes a profit?
  10. What is a staffing agency?
  11. How does a staffing agency charge a job seeker for their services?
  12. What is the difference between temporary, temporary-to-permanent, and permanent placement?
  13. What advice would you give to a recent grad with no work experience?
  14. How often do you check in with your candidates after placed in a permanent role with your client?
  15. How does artificial intelligence impact talent sourcing?
  16. In which categories does Robert Half recruit?
  17. Of the areas where Robert Half recruits, which are you most knowledgeable?
  18. If a temporary employee let you down regularly, what would you do?
  19. What will be your primary focus in your first 30 days with Robert Half?
  20. When have you had to change a search due to new information from your client?
  21. Tell me about a time you lost a job order or placement to a competitor. How did you react?
  22. What are some professional goals you have set for yourself this year?
  23. How do you build trust and rapport with your clients?
  24. What type of office set up helps you to be the most productive?
  25. Recruitment often requires out-of-the-box thinking. Are you creative by nature?
  26. How do you determine job order priority?
  27. How do you continue to educate yourself, as an expert in staffing?
  28. Why should Robert Half hire you over our other candidates?
  29. Is honesty the best policy?
  30. How much money do you want to earn in this role? What does your ideal pay structure look like?
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